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Re: monsoon moments

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  • karmayog - tanya
    http://www.hindustantimes.com/ViewsSectionPage/ColumnsOthers/The-romance-of-rain-in-a-resilient-city/Article1-1078651.aspx The romance of rain in a resilient
    Message 1 of 311 , Jun 19, 2013
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      The romance of rain in a resilient city
      Smruti Koppikar, Hindustan Times
      June 19, 2013

      There are rain romantics and rain realists, those who see romance and beauty
      in the sheets of water hitting the city and those who treat rain as a
      function of the seasonal cycle that's initially a pleasant relief from the
      oppressive humidity of the non-rain months, but quickly turns into a


      What else is it, if not nightmarish, to negotiate tens of potholes on way to
      work and back, lose productive time due to disruptions and delays in the
      suburban train system, wade through filth as it mixes with rain water that
      doesn't flow through archaic storm water drains, send our children to
      schools and colleges in uncertainty? It's the same story, year after every
      lost year.

      It need not be so. Monsoon is not unexpected nor is the set of issues that
      accompany days of heavy downpour. Yet we cannot seem to get "monsoon
      preparedness", as the venerable Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation calls it,
      right. The reason is, partly, the entrenched cartel of contractors,
      politicians and bureaucrats that benefits from perpetuating problems such as

      Partly, it is this approach to "monsoon preparedness" that has kept us in a
      running-to-stand-still mode: same issues, same band-aid solutions, same
      weathering of the rains till the next monsoon. It's an extemporised
      makeshift sort of a response to an annual urban disrupter. It has surely not
      escaped our city's administrators that we live in an era of climate changes
      and extreme weather conditions are now par for the course.

      With all the available data, projections and models, how difficult is it to
      work out a forward-looking comprehensive disaster management system equipped
      to address all vagaries of nature rather than stumble from one season to
      another? It's time for chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and municipal
      commissioner Sitaram Kunte to start work on a long-term plan to secure the
      city against the annual average rainfall and other weather extremes.

      New York, with which Mumbai is often compared is being prepared for "rising
      sea levels and hotter summers" with a $20 billion masterplan that its mayor
      Michael Bloomberg recently announced. Mayors of 48 cities in the United
      States including NY, elected officers who discharge administrative
      responsibilities on par with our municipal commissioner, met earlier this
      week in Washington to adopt a one-page plan to build resilient cities and
      communities (http://www.resilientamerica.org) ) by addressing issues of
      climate preparedness, energy security and infrastructure renewal.

      Their key concern was that extreme weather events are becoming more and more
      prevalent and local government is really where the response-action is. The
      idea behind the one-page plan is that cities and communities should take
      urgent and long-term measures to avert or mitigate natural disasters rather
      than manage them and recover from them, which are very expensive. El Paso,
      for example, which saw unprecedented cold last two years has mounted a $100
      million programme to install solar panels on its buildings. Other cities and
      communities are adopting specific measures that they hope will allow them to
      manage extreme weather better.

      Mumbai's drill is familiar. As May draws to a close, there's a scramble to
      complete pre-monsoon work mainly de-silting drains and relaying/repairing
      roads. As the first rain hits the city, roads laid with all technologies and
      managed by all agencies develop potholes. When chief minister Chavan called
      for a briefing on "monsoon preparedness" in the end of May, only 60 per cent
      of de-silting had been completed and pothole-filling technologies were being

      If the authorities adopted long-term strategy and helped build a Mumbai
      resilient in rain, some of the romance and beauty of the season might return
      to our lives.
    • karmayog - tanya
      http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/features/blink/article6197488.ece#im-image-0 SLIDESHOW Grey matters Jul 11, 2014 Kerala shares its most idyllic stories,
      Message 311 of 311 , Sep 1, 2014
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        Grey matters

        Jul 11, 2014

        Kerala shares its most idyllic stories, its best-kept secrets, with the
        mazha kalam (rainy season)

        If a Malayali writes an autobiography, at least one chapter is sure to dwell
        on the monsoons. The stormy rains in June and July are part of the fabric of
        life in Kerala. One might begin their tale with the flash floods of '58,
        while another may talk of the rains turning the courtyard in an ancestral
        home glassy and grey.

        For me, it's the memory of the heat of many months that dissipates in a
        second when the first few drops timidly hit the ground. Growing up in the
        village of Madikai in Kasaragod district of Kerala, my annual school
        holidays were all about the scent of overripe paranki maanga (cashew
        apples), which I had to pick from the family orchards every day. Summer days
        were also about walking to the temple grounds in the neighbouring villages
        to watch theyyam, sitting idle under thatched sheds at noon, waiting for
        heavy, yellow mangoes to drop from the trees, and playing football for hours
        on end on the paddy fields, now barren after the harvest.

        But memories of summer evaporate as soon as the monsoon rages in, with the
        scent of the wet mud overpowering all other senses. With the days of my
        youth, the carefree summer vacations, long gone, it is the first rain that
        brings back a flood of memories from Madikai.

        Photo essay by Thulasi Kakkat

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